Poetry: Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Why Suddenness Always Surprises


Don’t get me wrong,

I love a good scary movie,

failed re-entries never meant

for globby lava lamp bedroom;

a matter of expectation,

why suddenness always surprises –

that skip skip jump rope heart,

the excitable living untruth…

by Hexen Burner, by paragon wing;

timing is everything.


Death Box


She pulls up the last of the roots

and dumps the soil.


Anything that goes in that planter dies,

I say.


She doesn’t want to admit such things,

but I see it in her face.


That thing is a death box!


It’s not that bad!

she says.


Don’t tell me you’re defending

the death box.



she demands.


I ask her if she’s been trolling the garden center,

if she’s already picked out her next victim.


It’s not like that,

she says with exasperation.


That’s exactly what John Gacy said

before they went digging in his death box.

You keep a few trophies?

I prod.


You’re the one who played sports!

she shoots back.


It is true.

Swimming, soccer, track,

a little hockey.


My name in the newspaper

whenever I scored

which almost never happens

after sex.


Qantas Mechanics


One is throwing a wrench in things.

The other is manning a worn

brown clipboard.


These Qantas mechanics.

Without supervision.


Netted yellow pinnies to denote

staff allowed to be on the tarmac.


Something on the approach

that is not a divorce or a stalking

apex predator through

the bush.


A third yellow pinnie rides up

on a golf cart pulling cars of luggage.


Makes some unsavory joke

that has all the wombats

from first class

in a tizzy.


Those gum trees blowing bubbles

large as airspace.


While the one with the clipboard

makes so many checkmarks

you’d accuse positive thinking

of happy face piracy 

in these once friendly

ticker tape skies.


Green Lantern Sightings


My wife comes home on her lunch hour,

tells me she has driven by the Green Lantern

on Ottawa every day for a week.


You know,

she says.

The whole green puffed out suit with the fake abs.

Some guy in his 40s or 50s.


Every day?

I ask.


Hasn’t missed one!

she laughs.


He must be melting in that thing,

I think.

It is the middle of August.


She admits that he doesn’t have

the green sash over the eyes

or whatever the Green Lantern has on his face,

but he has the rest.


Well, it is good to know there are superheroes

out protecting our streets,

I smile.


It’s some crazy guy in his 40s or 50s!

she says.


The Green Lantern would be older now,

I exclaim.

He’s been fighting crime for some time.


She rolls her eyes

and begins in on her lunch.


Chokes a little

when I tell her steel wool

is the razor wire

of mice.


Driving Through the Streets of Dallas with the Top Down (2)


It felt like déjà vu.

I had this bad feeling.

As though we shouldn’t be doing

what we were doing.

Skipping school, and then the country.

Driving through the streets of Dallas

with the top down.

In a rented car charged to a credit card

that had yet to be denied.

I sat in the back.

Didn’t say a thing.

Not wanting to ruin the fun

for my two friends sitting

boisterously up front.

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